By Niels Viaene

Yes, we are already a month into the Zendikar Rising Season of Gentry, and things are shaping up. In this article, we will be looking at the top-performing decklists of Episode 3 and 4, you can check some of the earlier lists in the previous article about the launch of season XII. Of course, you can also go to MTGMelee, the site that hosts all the events, and get access to every single deck that has been played in Gentry. Just make sure you are looking at lists in the XII season or you might be playing cards that are no longer legal.

4-0 Thanh Van
Mono-Red Aggro

Companion (1)
Obosh, the Preypiercer

Deck (60)
Zirda, the Dawnwaker
18 Mountain
Weaselback Redcap
Satyr’s Cunning
Heraldic Banner
Dwarven Mine
Spikefield Hazard
Goblin Arsonist
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Chandra, Heart of Fire
Akoum Hellhound
Pyroclastic Hellion
Weaponize the Monsters
Phoenix of Ash
Sideboard (15)
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Blazing Volley
Pyroclastic Hellion
Final Flare
Destructive Tampering
Irreverent Revelers
Radiant Fountain
Brimstone Trebuchet

Thanh has been on a meteoric rise in the Gentry community, sporting a deck that people will always turn to to test a metagame, the unbridled power of mono red. In many ways this is one of the measuring sticks of what Magic at a competitive level is about, if your deck can not handle an aggressive deck that has reach, you probably should not try to get involved.

There currently are many flavors of mono red, with Thanh going for a Companion oriented Sacrifice theme here, making use of Weaponise the Monesters with the fodder producing Anax, Hardened in the Forge giving this deck surprising staying power of something that can come out of the gates so quickly.

3-1 Jelle Lauers
Temur Midrange

Deck (60)
Lullmage’s Familiar
Bubble Snare
Roost of Drakes
Into the Roil
Jace, Mirror Mage
Gnarlid Colony
Vine Gecko
Murasa Sproutling
Cragplate Baloth
Teferi, Master of Time
Thornwood Falls
Swiftwater Cliffs
Roil Eruption
The Royal Scions
Reclaim the Wastes
Sideboard (15)
Kazandu Nectarpot
Return to Nature
Bubble Snare
Essence Scatter
Stern Dismissal
Blazing Volley
Field Research

This is essentially a kicker deck and delves very deeply into the Zendikar Rising cardpool for that. In that regard is is largely a selfbuilding deck and while Jelle has struggled a bit to perform well with it, he found himself with a positive record in this edition of the Gentry Weekly. Vince Gecko and Roost of Drakes form a really scary engine together but current card availability seems just too low to really have a well rounded deck. The metagame is still in full development, however, so for now the deck should be fine to play and the core definitely deserves some attention as soon as more spells with kicker are added to the cardpool.

3-1 Lars Meeussen
Mono-White Aggro

Deck (60)
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
20 Plains
Anointed Chorister
Basri Ket
Faerie Guidemother
Kabira Takedown
Selfless Savior
Sentinel’s Eyes
Daybreak Charger
Seasoned Hallowblade
Luminarch Aspirant
Nahiri’s Binding
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Idyllic Grange
Ardenvale Tactician
Vryn Wingmare
Sideboard (15)
Blade Banish
Basri’s Acolyte
Divine Arrow
Springjaw Trap

We already talked about Mono-Red being a primordial archetype for Magic, but so is Mono-White Weenie. For as long as we had magic, turning little white creatures sideways has been a prime strategy. Throw in some team wide bonuses and creatures that help eachother out and you have a really strong battle plan that is supported by most metagames in some shape or another.

Lars chooses here to go for an extremely threat-dense way of building the deck, opting to forego many of the spell-based team boosts. I assume he did this to put more pressure on control decks who love nothing more than to answer only creatures and leave you with a pile of dead cards in your hand.

Currently, Control seems to be struggling, with only Dimir Rogues putting up good average results, and I say average, as the deck had both the best performing and worst performing players choosing it in the past 4 events. Dimir Control is still very much a player, but with the metagame all over the place it seems like they are having a hard time figuring out how to attack the metagame for now.

4-0 Karl Lister
Sultai Midrange

Deck (60)
Dreamtail Heron
Pouncing Shoreshark
Pollywog Symbiote
Sea-Dasher Octopus
Essence Symbiote
Auspicious Starrix
Migratory Greathorn
Thornwood Falls
Brokkos, Apex of Forever
Garruk’s Harbinger
Reave Soul
Blood Curdle
Dismal Backwater
Jungle Hollow
Llanowar Visionary
Sideboard (15)
Return to Nature
Blood Curdle
Reave Soul
Ranger’s Guile
Destiny Spinner

Wanting none of the fancy new tools, Karl brought Ikoria back to the forefront with this Simic, splash removal Mutate deck. Yes, it lost Arboreal Grazer, and that really slows the deck down but that does not mean it is gone whatsoever. In fact, that makes this deck extra scary, as printing better early game for this deck will instantly boost it to scary levels.

3-1 Robbe Schildermans
Dimir Rogues

Deck (60)
Soaring Thought-Thief
Omen of the Sea
Nimana Skydancer
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Zareth San, the Trickster
Zulaport Duelist
Didn’t Say Please
Brazen Borrower
Drown in the Loch
Into the Story
Dismal Backwater
11 Island
Heartless Act
Feed the Swarm
Sideboard (15)
Starlit Mantle
Essence Scatter
Feed the Swarm

Nothing new here, Dimir Rogues is making a serious case to be called best deck in the format. People are now universally adopting Into the Story as a reload tool for the lategame as this deck does not have the fastest finish and needs to rely on keeping up one for one interaction or it will fall behind and lose. There are still people experimenting with Cunning Nightbonder but it seems like the extra flexibility of Heartless Act is outperforming for now. The former being better against Control, the latter versus big creatures, and the metagame still being Control-light.

3-1 Thanh Van
Jund Sacrifice

Deck (60)
Jungle Hollow
Golden Egg
Giant Opportunity
Blood Aspirant
Bloodfell Caves
Rugged Highlands
Trail of Crumbs
Curious Pair
Wicked Wolf
Llanowar Visionary
Roil Eruption
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Dead Weight
Savvy Hunter
Evolving Wilds
Feasting Troll King
Fierce Witchstalker
Sideboard (15)
Feed the Swarm
Shredded Sails
Blazing Volley
Pharika’s Libation
Kazandu Nectarpot
Mogis’s Favor

Hot off a 4-0 finish the week before Thanh decided to switch decks and brought an updated version of Food / Sacrifice. The deck used to be very focused on the Cat+Oven Combo but now that is gone a whole new deck can be build. The stand-in to have cycling food for Trail of Crumbs is Savvy Hunter which, if unanswered will single handedly do the task of generating plenty of food-related triggers.

There are definitely some directions this deck can be taken into and I for one look forward to exploring them in the near future.

3-1 Peter Jönsson
Golgari Midrange

Deck (60)
Syr Konrad, the Grim
10 Swamp
Grasp of Darkness
Feed the Swarm
Silversmote Ghoul
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
Polukranos, Unchained
Excavation Mole
Elder Gargaroth
Jungle Hollow
Deathless Knight
Gingerbread Cabin
Skyclave Shade
Acolyte of Affliction
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Corpse Churn
Cling to Dust
Sideboard (15)
Reaper of Night
Feed the Swarm
Suffocating Fumes
Broken Wings

Peter has been tweaking this decklist for a few weeks now and things are starting to look like a settled deck. Realizing there is no longer a sweeper to exile all your creatures at uncommon, Peter revisited all the value engines he gave up on in the last yea, only to unleash them upon us with vengeful fury. This is a deck that, once it gets rolling, will night unstoppably waltz over anything that stands in its way to a degree that I would not be surprised to see graveyard hate in sideboards to fight this if it gets popular. For now, it is just a pet deck of a good player, but I would not sleep on this creation!

The Leaderboard

The start of the leaderboard was very much about the Swedish superstars flexing their muscles, with both Teddie Andersson and Peter Jönsson stepping up and taking the lead. Thanh has now come pretty much out of nowhere to claim the top slot for Kortrijk. If you ask me, it is time for Ghent to step up and show that the birthing city of Gentry has what it takes to secure the crown.

Brew hard and stay safe,

Niels Viaene came into contact with Magic first through the Kazz & Zakk starter set in 1996, but it wouldn’t be until 2000, around the time Prophecy came out that he actually started playing magic thanks to his nephew. Niels’ Magic career has been a roller coaster up to now, including Grand Prix Paris 2009 top 8, Pro Tour San Diego 2010 top 8, becoming a L3 Magic Judge in 2015 and managing the community effort that is the League of New and Beginning Magic: the Gathering Players, the birthing ground for Gentry since 2012. All this comes from a deep love for the game that is far from diminishing.

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